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AC Milan Bound Ivan Gazidis Reveals WHY He Left The CEO Position At The Emirates

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Arsenal have finally made an official announcement regarding the future of its chief executive Ivan Gazidis, and it is not what the fans of the London club would have hoped for. It has been made clear by the club that the 53-year-old Gazidis will leave his post at the Premier League club to take up a new challenge at AC Milan. The Serie A club have finally succeeded in appointing Gazidis as their new CEO, whom they approached over the summer by the Italian club’s new owners Elliott Management.

The club, however, was very fast to act to the resignation of Gazidis from his post. Arsenal have appointed Raul Sanllehi, the current head of football relations, as head of football, and Vinai Venkatesham, currently chief commercial officer, as managing director.

Ivan Gazidis has released a statement for the Arsenal fans, giving reasons for his decision to leave the Emirates for the San Siro based club. He said that change and succession is necessary to keep moving forward. Gazidis believes it is the right time for him to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into the new era.

Gazidis also stated that he is now looking forward to joining AC Milan and will work to restore it to its rightful place in football. He concluded his message to the Gunners by thanking the entire Arsenal board, on and off the pitch, including Stan and Josh Kroenke, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Phil Harris, Ken Friar and current head coach Unai Emery. Gazidis also thanked former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and the passionate and supportive fanbase of the North London club.

Ivan Gazidis full message to the fans as on arsenal.com

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge. This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith.

“We have rebuilt the off-field capability of the club, which is necessary for prolonged success in modern football, we have recently concluded new primary partnership deals that, together with the new league broadcast deals, secure our medium term financial future, we have updated our stadium and rebuilt our training facilities so that they are now world class and we have transitioned to a new football structure that is capable of taking the club confidently into the future. I am proud to say we have done this while building on the club’s progressive social values, leading the way on the women’s game as well as diversity and inclusion and establishing The Arsenal Foundation, which supports these values around the world in difficult places such as Iraq and Jordan and complements our extraordinary work in our local community. This will remain central to the club’s philosophy.

“Given this platform, I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club. Change and succession is not only inevitable for a club like Arsenal, it is necessary if it is continually to keep moving forward. One of my primary responsibilities as chief executive has been to make sure that there is good succession planning in every position in the club, including my own.

“Although it is very hard to do – the hardest decision of my life – I believe that, after 10 years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era. I believe in the positive force of change, both for me and for the club. While this is the most difficult and challenging course for me, I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club.

“After so many years at Major League Soccer and Arsenal, I am now looking forward to joining one of the world’s other great clubs, AC Milan, and working to restore it to its rightful place in football. Until then, I will continue to devote absolutely all my energy until my last day to ensure an orderly transition for the benefit of Arsenal Football Club.

“My sincere thanks go to Stan and Josh Kroenke for their support and guidance on everything we have done. To Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Phil Harris, Ken Friar and my wonderful management team and staff, on and off the field, to Arsène Wenger, Unai Emery and to the fans of this giant and incredible club, thank you for your immense support and friendship over so many years and for the wonderful privilege of being part of the journey. We lived through many emotions together, the highs and the lows of football, and I am proud to be able to say that I gave this club and its fantastic people everything that I had in me. I am excited and energised for the future for myself and for Arsenal Football Club and I will always hold it in my heart.”

AC Milan also released a statement announcing the appointment of Gazidis, a “world-class CEO”.

Milan chairman Paolo Scaroni spoke rather highly about Gazidis,

“Ivan Gazidis will bring an unparalleled level of business acumen and football industry experience to the club.

“He helped establish professional football in the United States; he brought Arsenal to new heights; and we can’t wait for him to get started here in Milan.

“The fundamentals are now in place for success, which we recognize will take time, hard work, and perseverance.”

So far, it is unclear whether Arsenal will appoint a direct replacement for Ivan Gazidis. Josh Kroenke, son of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, had been considered the most likely candidate to replace Gazidis as the chief executive, as he has spent more time in London since the turn of the year and has started taking a keen interest in the day-to-day running of the club.

Ivan Gazidis will join AC Milan on December 1, 2018, and shall leave Arsenal by the end of October, after over-viewing a successful transition at the club.

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Abir Chaudhuri
A football fan who loves to write about the game.

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